Definition of cynic
- Of course, there will always be cynics when companies make good-faith apologies and seek to follow through.
- —Andrew Ross Sorkin
He's too much of a cynic to see the benefits of marriage.
A cynic might think that the governor visited the hospital just to gain votes.
Reporters who cover politics often become cynics.
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The ancient Greece school of philosophers known as Cynics was founded by Antisthenes, a contemporary of Plato. Antisthenes is said to have taught at a gymnasium outside Athens called the Kynosarges, from which the name of the school, kynikoi, literally, “doglike ones,” may be derived. On the other hand, the name is most closely associated with the most famous Cynic philosopher, Diogenes of Sinope. Diogenes rejected social conventions and declared that whatever was natural and easy could not be indecent and therefore can and should be done in public. This shamelessness earned him the Greek epithet ho kyōn, “the dog.” In English, however, cynic and cynical have more to do with distrust of motives than shamelessness.
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